15th Canyon Creek resident dies in COVID-19 outbreak – Billings Gazette

15th Canyon Creek resident dies in COVID-19 outbreak

The COVID-19 outbreak at Canyon Creek Memory Care in Billings has led to the deaths of two more residents.

A man in his 70s died Wednesday at Canyon Creek, according to a press release issued Thursday morning from RiverStone Health. 

The death was described by RiverStone “another COVID-19 death stemming from the outbreak at Canyon Creek Memory Care.”

Canyon Creek Memory Care confirmed another death Thursday afternoon on its Facebook page. The post reported two deaths, which included the Wednesday death reported earlier by RiverStone Health. No other details were released as of Thursday evening.

“We all mourn the loss of these residents and express our deepest sympathy to the families impacted. Our senior residents are family, not merely numbers on a page,” read its announcement. 

Since July 6, 15 Canyon Creek residents have died.

During the same span a total of 16 Yellowstone County residents have died from COVID-19, and the death total in the county as of Thursday morning was 20, nearly half of the 43 total COVID-19 deaths in Montana. 

Canyon Creek has capacity for 67 residents, officials said in early July. As of Monday, 45 people resided there, 43 of whom remained positive for COVID-19 as of Tuesday.

The announcement of the latest death comes as county health resources are increasingly strained by the growing number of local COVID-19 cases.

Thursday afternoon there were 39 people hospitalized in Yellowstone County because of COVID-19, an increase of 13 since Monday. 

Thursday morning, statewide active hospitalizations were at 54.

The burden of the increased number of positive cases on county health resources was also apparent Thursday morning on RiverStone’s Unified Health Command Dashboard, an online graphic indicating the status of various COVID-19 related public health services and related categories.

Unified Health Command is made up of RiverStone Health, the Billings Clinic and St. Vincent Healthcare.

The dashboard uses three different colors to indicate status. Green means operating at expected/normal capacity. Yellow means “Needs beginning to outpace capacity” and red means “stressed operations/critical concerns.”

The dashboard statuses Thursday morning were as follows:

  • Health Department Capacity, defined as having sufficient staff for COVID-19 monitoring and follow-up, was in yellow status.
  • Case Investigation, defined as the ability to manage investigations and contact tracing for all COVID-19 positive results, was in red status.
  • Testing Capacity, defined as staff and supplies to screen and test all individuals recommended for COVID-19 testing, was in yellow status.
  • Healthcare System Capacity, defined as sufficient hospital staff, beds, and equipment to treat patients with COVID-19 and all other patients safely, was in yellow status. 
  • Disease Surveillance, defined as monitoring emergency department visits for respiratory symptoms, was in green status.
  • Regional impact, defined as active COVID-19 cases in UHC’s regional service area including surrounding counties, Wyoming, North and South Dakota, was in green status.

The high number of active cases has led to the temporary closure of RiverStone Health’s immunization clinic for the rest of the week so that staff there could be reassigned to help with a backlog of COVID-19 case investigations. Tuesday, the backlog was at more than 130 cases.

Updated testing results released by the Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services Thursday morning showed testing has confirmed another 25 COVID-19 cases in Yellowstone County.

The new cases include a woman in her 90s, a man and woman in their 80s, two women in their 70s, six people in their 50s, five people in their 40s, three people in their 30s, five people in their 20s and one person between the ages of 10 and 19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has determined that risk for severe illness from COVID-19 increases with age, with the greatest risk for severe illness among those age 85 and older. 

Other factors like underlying health conditions can also increase the risk of severe illness.

Yellowstone County Thursday morning had 505 of the 1,280 active cases in the state. Gallatin County has the second-highest number of active cases with 145. 

Since March there have been a total of 2,910 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Montana and 1,587 people are considered recovered.

Testing has uncovered a total of 96 COVID-19 cases associated with the outbreak at Canyon Creek, including 56 residents and 40 staff members. The senior care facility had 59 residents at the start of the outbreak.

Last week, Yellowstone County Health Officer John Felton said that a total of 112 cases had been connected to eight different senior care facilities in the county.

There has not been a documented case of COVID-19 at a senior living community in Billings, but many residents and workers are afraid that will change.

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A Canyon Creek Memory Care resident died Monday at the care facility in Billings.

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